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ותאמר שתה וגם גמליך אשקה

And she said, “Drink, and I will even water your camels.” (24:46)

Rivkah is lauded for her incredible sensitivity and kindness in offering water to Eliezer. This was the finishing touch upon which her selection to be Yitzchak Avinu’s wife was predicated. Imagine, someone has been wearily trudging through the sun-baked wilderness. His throat is parched; he is sweating profusely. He badly needs water. Would the person who reaches out to him with a jug of water be considered especially kind or, simply a decent human being? Horav Eliyahu Dushnitzer, zl, explains that Rivkah’s greatness shone forth when she offered to water the camels as well. Eliezer had asked for a drink…

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ואבוא היום אל העין

“I came today to the spring.” (24:42)

Rashi comments, “Today I embarked, and today I arrived.” This teaches us that, “kaftzah lo ha’aretz, the earth contracted for him, allowing for his journey to be miraculously shortened.” Apparently, it was critical to seal the match that day since Hashem had caused a miracle to occur in order to bring both sides together in the most expeditious manner. Horav Shlomo Levenstein, zl, offers a practical reason for Eliezer’s hastened arrival: A shidduch was presented to the distinguished rav of a community regarding his son: the daughter of a wealthy businessman who lived in a different city. The prospective father-in-law…

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ואומר אל אדני אלי לא תלך האשה אחרי

And I said to my master, “Perhaps the woman will not follow me?” (24:39)

Rashi notes that the word u’lai, perhaps, is usually spelled with a vov. Here it is spelled without a vov, which allows for the three letters, aleph, lamed, yud to be read as eilai, to me. By using this (three letter) spelling, the Torah seeks to convey Eliezer’s personal hope. He, too, had a daughter whom he would have loved to marry off to Yitzchak. Therefore, when Eliezer asked Avraham what to do if by chance the girl refused to go with him, he was not simply asking a question; but rather hoping that she would not return with him….

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קבר אברהם את שרה אשתו אל מערת שדה המכפלה... היא חברון

Avraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpeilah… which is Chevron. (23:19)

The Meoras Ha’Machpeilah is the final resting place of four couples: Adam/Chavah; Avraham/Sarah; Yitzchak/Rivkah; Yaakov/Leah. As such, it is sacred ground which no one has penetrated and returned to report about. There was, however, one person who went, entered and even, exited – Horav Avraham Azulai, zl, author of the Chesed L’Avraham, great-grandfather of the Chida, zl. The story took place in 1643, in the city of Chevron. The sultan of the Ottoman Empire decided to visit the many places of distinction that were part of his vast empire. Chevron, which is home to the Meoras Ha’Machpeilah, was one of…

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ויבאה יצחק האהלה שרה אמו ויקח את רבקה ותהי לו לאשה ויאהבה וינחם יצחק אחרי אמו

And Yitzchak brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother; he married Rivkah; she became his wife, and he loved her; and thus was Yitzchak consoled after his mother. (24:67)

The Ramban observes that Yitzchak Avinu’s love for Rivkah Imeinu was inspired by her righteousness and the suitability of her maasim tovim, good deeds, which are the only criteria upon which the Torah predicates the love between husband and wife. This is the only form of love that is enduring. Targum Onkeles interprets the pasuk: “When he/Yitzchak saw that her/Rivkah’s actions were similar to those of Sarah, his mother – v’nasiv es Rivkah, he married Rivkah.” Yitzchak’s decision to marry Rivkah, to have her become Klal Yisrael’s second Matriarch, was grounded on her spiritual similarity to his mother. He sought…

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אנכי בדרך נחני ד'

As for me, Hashem has guided me on the way. (24:27)

How often do we become frustrated with a situation or a person, to the point that we wonder what is it that Hashem is asking of us? Eliezer was sent on a mission, an impossible mission: to find a suitable mate for Yitzchak (Avinu). Yitzchak was raised by Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imeinu. He was the Olah Temimah, perfect sacrifice. The world “out there” was pagan-oriented, with no moral/ethical compass and even less of a spiritual focus. If Avraham sends, Eliezer goes. The lodestar that guided and maintained him was, Anochi baderech nachani Hashem;“As for me, Hashem has guided me…

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אשר לא תקח אשה לבני מבנות הכנעני ... כי אל ארצי ואל מולדתי תלך ולקחת אשה לבני ליצחק

That you not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanim… Rather, to my land and to my kindred shall you go and take a wife for my son, for Yitzchak. (24:3,4)

The moral profligacy that reigned in Canaan overrode the spiritual perversion that prevailed in Charan. As the D’Rashos HaRan explains, it is possible to penetrate the mind of he who is spiritually perverse, because idolatry is a philosophical issue which can be addressed rationally, so that the individual can understand how his logic has been twisted. In contrast, the moral degeneracy of the Canaanim is more difficult to counter, because the degeneracy becomes imbedded in the psyche of the individual, so that he is unable to comprehend anything outside of his established belief system. Horav Boruch Dov Povarsky, Shlita, supplements…

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ויקם אברהם מעל פני מתו וידבר אל בני חת

Avraham rose up from the presence of his dead, and spoke to the Bnei Cheis. (23:3)

This group of people, Bnei Cheis, is mentioned ten times in the parsha. The Torah is frugal with words and does not use an extra word unless it teaches a lesson or has unique significance. Therefore, the ten-time redundancy of Bnei Cheis (nine times in this parshah and once in Parshas Vayechi) begs elucidation. Chazal explain that these ten mentions correspond to the Ten Commandments, in order to teach the lesson that whoever assists in the business dealings of a tzaddik, righteous person, it is considered as if he carried out the Ten Commandments. This is a powerful statement. We…

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ותאמר שתה אדוני

She said, drink, my lord. (24:18)

Eliezer asked Rivkah (Imeinu) if she had water to spare. The young girl’s actions, her outstanding chesed, kindness, in not only providing for Eliezer, but also for his camels, indicated the type of person she was. In addition, she did not tarry in carrying out his request. As soon as Eliezer asked her for water, she immediately ran to do his bidding. These two aspects of Rivkah’s character are evident. Another one of her attributes is often overlooked, but should be underscored: derech eretz, manners, respect, human decency. This, explains Horav Yitzchak Yaakov Ruderman, zl, is to be gleaned from…

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ויהיו חיי שרה מאה שנה ועשרים שנה ושבע שנים שני חיי שרה

Sarah’s lifetime was one hundred years, twenty years and seven years, the years of Sarah’s life. (23:1)

Rashi explains the seeming redundancy of shnei chayei Sarah, the years of Sarah’s life, by asserting that kulam shavin l’tovah, all of the years of Sarah Imeinu’s life were equal in their goodness. This does not mean that Sarah did not experience adversity in her life. Childless for ninety years is definitely not what anyone would call “good.” Sarah, however, accepted whatever was thrown at her as being the ratzon, will, of Hashem. Sarah had many positive character traits and attributes, abiding commitment to Hashem which she instilled in our nation’s DNA. As the first Matriarch, she is the Mother…

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